Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Asian art

View More:


(Portrait of poet lio Sōgi)

18th century


Unknown Artist


Iio SÔGI (1421-1502) is one of the most important poets in linked-verse (two or more people compose poems in turn, each person linking his poem to the theme of the previous one). While training at Shôkokuji temple in Kyoto, SÔGI studied various classical traditions from different teachers. In his 40s he left the temple and trained himself further in linked-verse poetry. He travelled between fiefs where he was invited to instruct this form of poetry which was widely practiced among the feudal lords and their associates. His acquaintances included the famous tea master Murata JUKÔ (1422-1502).

Portraits of famous poets are common, but they are usually those of the earlier Six Immortal Poets or the Thirty-six Immortal Poets of waka (31-syllable poem). Although 'renga' was also practiced among the nobles, it was favoured among educated members of the samurai class, often combined with the tea ceremony. In the Edo period professional 'renga' poets were given official position by the Shogunate to practice and coordinate poetry meetings.

Two of his poems are written above him. The first is a stanza written in the right panel: In my old age/ now I must watch the world?s storms/ from a makeshift hut. The second is a waka written across the two remaining panels: This is my portrait/ but I am envious/ with the painted old man/ who seems oblivious/ to the world?s troubles.

Asian Art Dept.
AGNSW 19 June 2001


Place where the work was made



18th century

Media category


Materials used

hanging scroll; ink and colour on silk


77.0 x 43.5 cm image; 153.0 x 53.2 x 58.0 cm scroll

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Mrs Phyllis Warnock in memory of Dr Leonard I Warnock 2001


Not on display

Accession number



Where the work was made